The BBC has been under the spotlight in the last week. With good reason. Because the supposedly impartial broadcaster is looking more and more like a cheerleader for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party by the day.
In other words, it’s become nothing short of propaganda. And this is something we urgently need to talk about because this is not okay.
How do you take your jam?
On the day Jeremy Corbyn released comprehensive documents about the trade deal the UK government is preparing to do with the US, which explicitly does not exclude the possibility of US companies running NHS services and shows officials are at an “advanced stage” of discussing whether the health service will face a massive hike in the price it pays for drugs, BBC Politics thought the appropriate response was to show Johnson eating scones. Yes, our NHS might be for sale, but let’s make sure we cover the crucial issue of the day – do you put jam or cream on a scone first:
“The reason for putting the jam on first is because jam is adhesive”
Conservative leader Boris Johnson prepares a scone, saying, when asked about the correct order of jam and cream, that he "couldn't remember, so I guessed"https://t.co/lbGIAxEpOv pic.twitter.com/9DKu3krqqT
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 27, 2019
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Trawling through the BBC Politics Twitter feed over the last week, I couldn’t find comparable stories about Jeremy Corbyn. As comedian Mark Thomas pointed out:
Really? Eating a scone? This is a political story? Seriously? And you might wonder why so many people accuse the Beeb of political bias. JC gets Andrew Neil and Johnson gets a scone.
— Mark Thomas (@markthomasinfo) November 27, 2019
Meanwhile, journalist Paul Mason added this perspective:
What else did the Dear Leader do today, David Jordan and Fran Unsworth? https://t.co/RP7GELiYU8
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) November 27, 2019
But it’s not just about jam
The problem is this is just one example among so many. And it’s why #BBCImpartiality trended on Twitter on 28 November. The BBC eventually admitted it got it wrong in editing out the full audience response to Johnson in a lunchtime news item on the Question Time leadership debate. But by then, the damage was done. Furthermore, the BBC published its mistake in its “Entertainment & Arts” section, not on its politics pages.
Moreover, the BBC doesn’t appear to learn from its so-called mistakes. Just days after the audience controversy, it was embroiled in another scandal. This time because Andrew Neil’s hectoring interview with Corbyn took place before Johnson had even agreed to take part in the series of leaders’ interviews. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell was not impressed:
Johnson’s running scared after his disastrous debate performances. But he’s playing the BBC. He’s delaying interview past main postal vote period. With doctored film & now this, the BBC is hardly covering itself in glory in this election. It should’ve fixed all dates in advance. https://t.co/A6hWRlX675
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) November 27, 2019
Commenting on this, journalist James O’Brien nailed everything that’s wrong with the establishment media:
If the chairman of the Spectator (@afneil) really can’t get an interview with the ex-editor of the Spectator (@BorisJohnson), he could always ask the current deputy editor to have a word with her husband (Dominic Cummings). Barclay brothers permitting, of course. #bbcimpartiality
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) November 27, 2019
Enough is enough!
The BBC claims it is:
committed to achieving due impartiality in all its output.
According to its charter, meanwhile, it should:
provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them: the BBC should provide duly accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming to build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world.
The scone story is far from “impartial”, especially given there was no equivalent stories about Corbyn.
But bias can also be nuanced. As The Canary previously reported, this was recently highlighted in the way it treated two stories on the Today programme about MPs saying they wouldn’t vote for their former political parties. And it was shown in the pitiful excuses it gave for showing the wrong footage of Johnson on Remembrance Day.
Enough is enough! It’s time to stop paying the licence fee. And it’s time to switch off the BBC for good. We need to stop pretending or making excuses for the broadcaster. With two weeks until a general election, it is pumping out propaganda for Boris Johnson. And this, quite simply, is not good enough.
Featured image via Flickr/Tara Hunt
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?